Being told you’re “too much” is almost never meant as a compliment. If a guy has told you this, you may have taken it to heart, believing you need to tone it down for the sake of your relationship. But next time this happens, consider it a sign you should change the person you’re spending time with, not yourself. Here’s why.
- Calling someone “too much” is gaslighting. Gaslighting is where someone manipulates you by calling your sanity into question. Even if you’re completely sane and rational, they’ll suggest that you’re crazy in order to gain control over you. One major way to gaslight women is to tell them that they’re too emotional, too sensitive, and too dramatic. The goal of gaslighting is to get you to believe that your perspective is unreliable while his is trustworthy. Whenever you’re called “too much,” be aware of how manipulative these words can be and distance yourself from anyone who utters them.
- He’s emotionally unavailable. A guy who calls you “too much” thinks he’s calling out your shortcoming. But in reality, he’s only projecting his own. Often, guys who think women are too emotional and expressive only think so because they themselves are emotionally unavailable. Your authentic self makes him uncomfortable because he may struggle to voice his own thoughts and feelings. When you’re told you’re “too much,” know that it actually says more about the other person than it does about you.
- He’ll never give you what you need. One of the quickest ways to shut down someone’s needs in a relationship is to suggest that those needs are too demanding or unrealistic. So if he says you’re “too much” or “too needy,” what he’s really saying is, “I can’t give you what you need.” Remember, your needs aren’t wrong, but you’re asking for the wrong person to meet them.
- You have different relationship expectations. You want a relationship where you can be yourself, ask for what you want, and be honest about how you feel. His expectations, however, may be different. When he dismisses you as being “too much,” he’s bringing attention to a deep incompatibility between you two. He may have fantasized about the “cool” girlfriend whose chillness is borderline passive. But that’s not you—and that’s a good thing. Find a relationship where your authenticity and complexities will be appreciated.
- He can’t handle strong women. Women often get called ‘”too much” not because it’s actually true but because of gender stereotypes and norms. When a guy says this to you, he might be telling you that he likes women who are less. Women who are less strong, less bold, and less loud are seen as the ideal for some. Meanwhile, you’re assertive, opinionated, and you know what you want. And these are all great qualities that the right guy will admire in a woman, not be intimidated by.
- He wants you to settle. Your needs are valid. But he doesn’t want you to know that. Telling you that you’re “too much” means he’s putting all the responsibility on your shoulders, while he sits back and waits for you to settle for his breadcrumbs. In other words, he wants you to change who you are and what you need in order to stay with him. The right guy will celebrate your personality and be curious about your feelings. The wrong guy will shame you into thinking you’re too much so you won’t notice the ways that he’s not enough for you.
- Don’t play small. You may start to feel ashamed of your too-muchness, leading you. to question and silence yourself. You may stop expressing how you feel or sharing things that seem to make your beau uncomfortable. But your intensity is worth taking pride in. It shows that you know who you authentically are. When you quiet and shrink yourself for others, you lose those qualities. And no matter how into a guy you are, no one is worth sacrificing yourself for. You deserve a relationship where you can expand and be more of your authentic self, not less.
- Stop giving to the wrong people. Your strong, outspoken self is exactly what will repel guys—the wrong guys. Use this to your advantage. What makes you “too much” is a gift, but not all men can handle that gift. Distance yourself from a guy who calls you ‘too much,’ and stop giving to those who can’t appreciate all of what you have to offer.
- Reframe being “too much.” Honestly, being told you’re “too much” can sting. You might feel rejected and ashamed. If you catch yourself believing those words, reframe them. You’re not actually too needy; you have needs. You’re not too loud; you’re brave. You’re not too opinionated; you’re passionate. You’re not too emotional; you’re in touch with your feelings. See these criticisms as compliments in disguise.